Emerging from the pattern of unanimity, or near unanimity, that has characterized most of the cases decided so far this term, the Supreme Court decided one of its most eagerly awaited and controversial cases. And the outcome of the case will confound the predictions of many voting-rights analysts and critics of the Court and its Chief Justice.
The case is Allen v. Milligan, and, in a 5-4 opinion written by the Chief Justice, and joined by Justices Sotomayor, Kagan, and Jackson, and, most significantly, by Justice Kavanaugh, the Court held that a districting plan adopted by the State of Alabama for its 2022 congressional elections likely violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, 52 U. S. C. §10301. I think it is fair to say that, following the oral argument of the case, most liberal commentators expected significant further erosion of Section 2, and most politically, if not jurisprudentially, conservative observers were licking their lips. Each side has been surprised.
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